Innovative pilot makes it easier and quicker to set up a cafe

The NSW Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs has helped launch the expansion of the NSW Government's Easy to do Business pilot in Parramatta which has slashed red tape for people setting up new businesses.

Grounded Space Parramatta

The Commissioner joined Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello, Parramatta business owner Peter Doueihi and Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee to announce the expansion of the program following its success in Parramatta.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Small Business John Barilaro said one of the biggest challenges many businesses faced was navigating all the rules and regulations relevant to them.

“As part of the Easy to do Business pilot, we’ve been working with the City of Parramatta to identify areas of duplication and make it easier and quicker for cafes, restaurants and small bars to get started, reducing the time from 18 months down to 90 days or less.”

Grounded space café and co-working space owner Peter Doueihi says the NSW Government’s Easy to do Business pilot in Parramatta helped make his business happen.

Grounded Space is a professional community of ambitious small businesses and start-ups who network with each other to offer opportunities, support and guidance.

After working as a mechanical engineer, Mr Doueihi decided that he did not want to work for someone else so started his business from home, living and working in the same space and using his lounge room to meet clients.

This is where he got the idea for his Grounded Space – a workspace, come café poised to take advantage of Parramatta’s booming economy.

Mr Doueihi said he initially opened the business as just a co-working space but when he saw a need present itself he decided to open a café as well.

“Small businesses and startups love a good coffee as well as a good place to interact with the people,” he said. “Parramatta is also a booming area, so you can never have enough coffee.”

Mr Doueihi signed up for Easy to do Business and received a call from a NSW Government Business Concierge within hours. He received information about the approvals he needed and the order in which he needed to submit his applications.

“The Easy to do Business program was very helpful and they made all the steps very simple to do online. When you are trying to juggle a million things it makes it so much easier when you have a guided process - and it can all be done online.

“They also assigned a case manager so whenever I needed something done fast I was able to contact him and he was able to help out.”

The Easy to do Business team also helped Mr Doueihi start his business and apply for outdoor dining and music licence.

“The Easy to do Business team helped make this café happen.”

There are about 30 businesses taking part, and estimates suggest the time savings are up to 55 hours per business.

Launch of Easy to do Business in Parramatta

Mr Dominello said the program, which commenced as a pilot in the Parramatta LGA in May 2016, had helped 31 cafes, restaurants and bars open for business or expand.

“Service NSW have been working with City of Parramatta, Office of the Small Business Commissioner and local businesses to identify ways in which to streamline applications processes,” Mr Dominello said.

“Through the initiative we have been able to replace 30 government forms with a single online application, which has almost halved the amount of duplicated information customers were previously required to provide.”

Mr Barilaro said plans were underway to roll the Easy to do Business initiative out to three more local government areas in the coming weeks.

“Service NSW is working with councils in Dubbo, Georges River and the Northern Beaches to roll the program out further,” he added.

Plans are underway to expand the Easy to do Business initiative to include four other business sectors: clothing retail, housing construction, print business and road freight.

Online guides for all five sectors are available for all NSW customers looking to set up their own business from the Service NSW website.